Mobilize Mail, is a local ESP (email service provider) and it is important we know the DIA’s interpretation of Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. We recently requested their insight on ‘consent’ via social network membership.
Social Media networks are utilised by businesses to connect with advocates, suppliers, clients, prospects etc.
We are active on LinkedIn and regularly use their features to communicate with our groups and connections.
However receiving business email marketing messages in our personal email Inboxes seems a step too far so we needed to get the DIA’s view on consent via social networks.
The question we asked the DIA was:
Is there a DIA position on ‘Consent’ via social networks like Face book, LinkedIn etc?
Essentially we needed the DIA to let us know if someone has ‘consent’ to send business email marketing messages to the email addresses of their ‘followers’ or LinkedIn connections.
The DIA response:
Essentially we discussed whether a LinkedIn connection constituted a relationship that could be applied to consent. The most applicable form of consent in this instance being inferred consent, or consent that can reasonably be inferred from the conduct and the business and other relationships of the persons concerned.
While it is important to note that the Department can give no assurances and each scenario would be considered on a case-by-case basis, the Department considered a connection on LinkedIn to be relevant only to the messages sent between users who used the services provided by LinkedIn to send messages.
Should a user send a commercial electronic message outside of LinkedIn (for instance using their business email which is not associated with LinkedIn) to an email account they share a LinkedIn connection with, then this would appear to be sent without the consent of the recipient.
The relationship having been established for communication using the site LinkedIn and subject to the terms and conditions published by LinkedIn, and not for services outside of this relationship.
The Department would have to consider each scenario case-by-case and cannot give any assurances, however the Department will be happy to investigate any alleged breaches of the Act. Complaints can be lodged with the Department – click here for the link.
So, in summary, use the social network’s features to communicate with your followers and connections and seek their actual consent before you send commercial like emails. This can be achieved compliantly by setting up a ‘subscription’ page on your website and using the double opt-in process. However using an ESP like us where you can post a link on your social networks and allow your followers to subscribe and fully comply with the Spam law as well as get all the other compliant features would obviously be the best approach to take…but we are biased.
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